There’s Always 1 Skeptic
By Johnny Dwinell
Lately, I’m proud to say, many of my articles have been reposted by some resource sites that have far greater traffic than ours does. Every so often, I get a wild hair and a little extra time that directs me to read some of the comments people leave about my blog posts. This is a rare occurrence but interesting because, while I receive and reply to all comments on Daredevilproduction.com, I don’t get “pinged” when comments are posted anywhere else. Additionally, one cannot directly reply to any comments on these sites.
Reading the feedback on any given post is usually motivating because most people get the information or at least find something in there that inspires them, teaches them, makes them aware, etc., and they make a point to say so.
…and then there is always at least 1 skeptic.
At least one person who takes the time to spin or trump up some undesirable angle so he/she can poo-poo all the information and go on about their life and career as-is with no meddlesome disruptions that would threaten their current understanding of how the music business works.
I am still an artist and will always have an artist heart
I want to thank anyone who takes the time to remark on the positive and/or helpful info that they received from my articles. Even though I operate at high level on the business side of my brain, I am still an artist and will always have an artist heart. That means it’s wounded pretty easily from disapproval and nourished by positivity.
While I totally understand that being divisive on certain subjects is a good thing (negative comments means I’m touching a nerve somewhere right?), I must admit that the adverse interpretations get me thinking a lot; sometimes too much. I guess I just can’t help wanting to please everyone.
Yesterday, I was reading the comments on an article called 20 Biggest Marketing Mistakes. I experienced mostly great comments and, of course, 1 skeptic.
This skeptic trashed all the information because, in his head, we were selling something.
If you’ve already read it, #18 in the article stated “You won’t pay for coaching” as a mistake. The skeptic then summed up the whole article as a hustle to lead people into paying us for coaching.
Everybody needs to be educated. Especially in an environment where the targets you must hit to survive are constantly moving. If you can get free coaching a.k.a. on-the-job-training or an internship, God bless! The rest of us will have to learn somewhere else or suffer through doing the same ineffective routine that gets us the same, useless results. Btw, isn’t college paid education/coaching?
So THIS thought got me thinking about how and why the consummate skeptics self-sabotage. They don’t want to find the answers because that would mean they would have to stop complaining and actually show up for work.
Showing up for work means they would have to take responsibility for the results.
A level of skepticism is quite healthy. We definitely need a “devils-advocate”, if you will. We believe in this concept so much at Daredevil Production, LLC that Kelly and I regularly practice skepticism against any new ideas we bring up. We actually try to blow holes in the concept to test their strength and validity. The difference is that the skepticism is served up in a positive spirit of finding the truth rather than some hostile rant of pure negativity.
But like anything else in life, too much skepticism is the opposite of healthy.
It’s debilitating. Sometimes this is unconscious, and sometimes people are just downright angry, evil, and bitter so they do it intentionally.
Either way, the damage to the skeptic is the same.
Skeptics will typically label themselves as “unlucky”, that’s one big reason they are so damn skeptical.
The definition of luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparation. Now, as you read that your eyes are glazing over.
True as it may be, It’s a cliché isn’t it?
As artists we want to believe in skill and talent.
The truth is that skill and talent will always get you more “at bats” in life, but it certainly does NOT guarantee success.
The other truth is most artists require a little more validation (I use “a little more” in the same way a bar would use “free beer tomorrow”…it never comes) before they really get to work on the preparation part of the equation.
Too many artists are waiting for the opportunities to present themselves before they invest in the work portion of the formula.
So the “Luck Equation” is changed. When it’s changed the opposite happens; you get unlucky. Then I guess you ultimately become a skeptic.
Let’s look at luck and skeptics who consistently feel unlucky from a different perspective. I was reading an incredible article about Survivorship Bias. This article was LONG but so worth the read. It focused on the human proclivity for noticing and therefore studying winners simply because winners are more visible than losers.
For instance you want to open a restaurant because you see so many successful restaurants in your neighborhood. What you don’t see is that 90% of restaurants fail.
You want a record deal because you see all the successful artists and they inspire you. What you don’t see is that 90% of signed artists fail. It’s always been that way.
In this article there was a portion that basically attributed all successes to luck. Which is disturbing at first glance, until you consider the following facts:
- Luck isn’t fairy dust
- Luck isn’t a mythical force where the Gods determine the haves and have-nots.
There are many scientific studies that show luck (and Luck’s opposite which leads to skepticism) to be a measurable output of a group of predictable behaviors.
While randomness, chance, and the noisy chaos of reality may be impossible to predict or tame, luck and therefore skeptics are something else.
Luck and skeptics are the results of a human being consciously interacting with chance.
The example given in this article was compelling. These scientists followed the lives of 400 people of all ages and professions over a 10 year period. The scientists found these people through newspaper articles that asked for subjects to apply if they thought of themselves as generally very lucky or generally very unlucky. The subjects were asked to keep diaries, participate in experiments, and be interviewed over the course of the decade.
In one such experiment, the subjects were given a newspaper and asked to count the number of photographs inside. The people who labeled themselves as generally unlucky took an average of 2 minutes to complete the task.
The people who considered themselves generally lucky took an average of a few seconds.
The scientist had placed an ad in GIANT BOLD LETTERS on the second page that said “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” Deeper inside the scientists placed another ad with the same sized text that read, “Stop Counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.”
The people who were unlucky (a.k.a. the skeptics) usually missed both. (I submit that if this experiment was performed during the internet age they would have “commented’ on how the test was unfair, fixed, a scam, and somehow partial to the lucky group)
The scientists observed that skeptics are narrowly focused
They crave security, tend to be more anxious, instead of wading into a sea of random chance open to what may come, they remain fixated on controlling the situation, on seeking a specific goal.
In the case of the skeptic who commented on my article, he did exactly ZERO research because he was narrowly focused on finding the angle, finding the moment where we ask for money; which in his interpretation devalued the information. This goal of his, distracted him from all the possibly educational content.
If our skeptic did any research he would know that Daredevil Production, LLC is in the artist development business. We don’t charge for and put on conferences of any kind; it’s not our business model. If he read that article again, he would also pick up that Kelly and I were panelists not the hosts at the mentioned conference. Furthermore, he would have read that we made many relationships with some amazing new writers we met at this conference. In fact, we have already placed one such writer with an artist we are developing (they’re getting along famously so far)
So I guess that writer who paid to attend the conference is just lucky, right?
And our skeptic remains unlucky due to an overwhelming need to find an “angle” with every opportunity or piece of information. If it requires money it must be bad, right?
To be clear Mr. Skeptic, what you “See” as a music fan is:
- An interview or two from your favorite artist.
- You hear probably 1 live radio interview on whatever local station you listen to.
- You see your favorite artist in 1 appearance on your favorite late night TV show.
- It seems really grandiose and adoring for the artist whom you aspire to be like.
Mr. Skeptic, what you don’t see is:
- Your favorite artist doing weeks of 12 hour days that consist of nothing but interviews for every print magazine, newspaper, blog spot, radio station, and podcast on the planet.
- Your favorite artist does weeks of radio tours hitting every station in everybody’s home town.
- Your favorite artist appears on ALL the late night TV shows, ALL the morning talk shows, and ALL the mid afternoon talk shows.
Oh, and Mr. Skeptic, there’s the final nail in your “integrity coffin”. Your favorite artist suffers through weeks of interviews answering the same, monotonous, lame questions, over and over. They endure tons of travel to get to a new city to answer more monotonous, lame questions on a radio tour which could ultimately be described as, GASP, sales calls!
Yes, Mr. Skeptic, your favorite artist has the very thing you so diligently seek to dismiss every experience and every educational opportunity, the one thing you despise most on this Earth; an angle.
Your favorite artist wants to sell records and concert tickets.
The moral of the story is be a little skeptical because it’s healthy, but don’t be a skeptic.
The bad news is if you are bitter, sour, and too skeptical it’s your own damn fault.
The good news is you can change it if you want.
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